You’re sitting in your office when your phone rings. You pick up, preparing for a cold call from some random IT company or magazine. What you hear on the other end of the line instead is a person who has “heard good things about your business.” They are working on something they’d like you to talk to them about because they think you can help them. It’s great news and the best kind of call a business of any kind can get. However, in all of your excitement, do you remember to ask the pivotal question? Do you ask them how they heard about you?
Referrers can be people, directories, advertisements, e-blasts, or any number of other sources. Identifying your referrers is important from a marketing perspective because it will offer you insight into what works best. Knowing human referrers can enable you to enrich those relationships and could perhaps entice them to refer customers to you on a consistent basis.
Let’s get down to the brass tacks, then. How can you identify from where your new customers are coming? Here are five tips.
1. Explore your Google Analytics
Google Analytics can offer you general, tip of the iceberg insight into how people are finding your website and how they are navigating your website. Digging into Google Analytics can tell you what keywords people search in order to find you, what pages of your website get the most traffic, and where on your site people go before perhaps visiting your e-commerce site or an RFQ page. Additionally, evaluating your back-end analytics can tell you what websites and advertising opportunities are driving potential leads to your site, especially if you use customized landing pages to track your campaigns. Although the Google Analytics tags can at times be a little tricky to add to a website, the tool itself is free and offers a wealth of valuable information if you take the time to look at it.
2. Ask how people found you
While we are not proponents of phone scripts by any means, we do emphasize the importance of asking people who call your company how they found out about you. If a customer sales representative gathers this information but does not pass it on to the marketing and sales departments, the knowledge becomes useless. Assuming the knowledge does get shared throughout the company, a database tracking the most commonly mentioned tactics can be created over time.
3. Use customized landing pages
About those customized landing pages we mentioned in point 1…these are extremely valuable for tracking advertising campaigns, PR campaigns, and more. By driving traffic to a unique URL only visible through that marketing tactic, you are giving your marketing and sales teams a straight line to which they can trace leads back to a specific marketing action. Being able to measure one tactic versus another is also extremely useful, of course.
4. Search for mentions on social networks
It never hurts to search for mentions of your company or brand on social networks, even if your industry may not be extremely active online. There may be “fans” who are often referring you to others, but if you don’t have your social media ears on, you might never know they are out there.
5. Ask people to refer you
The easiest way to know your referrers is to inspire them yourself. John Jantsch talks about this a lot in The Referral engine. It can seem like an uncomfortable conversation, but a little awkwardness can still reap great benefits for you and your company. Referring you to other customers is seldom going to be front-of-mind for people with whom you are working, but by making a gentle ask, you might be surprised to find how willing they are to recommend you to other companies. As long as you handle the situation with aplomb, there is nothing to worry about.
How do you track your referrers? If you are not tracking them, we highly recommend you get started as soon as possible. If you need any help or have any questions, you know where to find us!
Image Credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/doug88888/2825008179/ via Creative Commons